Wall Street: U.S. equity markets closed higher on Friday as traders ended the week with a flurry of buy orders in the last hour of trading. Crude oil gained on the day, closing above $66 a barrel which helped oil related stocks. The markets struggled through most of the day after digesting economic reports that showed consumer sentiment jumped and the economy contracted at a 5.7% annual pace. Dell gained on Friday after narrowly beating analyst estimates despite earnings falling 63%. General Motors (GM) shares dropped to 75 cents a share as bankruptcy looms with a possible chapter 11 filing on Monday. Bank stocks closed higher on Friday, led by Citigroup, Wells Fargo and JPMorgan. The DOW gained 96.53 points to close on 8500.33. The S&P gained 12.31 points to close on 919.14 and the NASDAQ gained 22.54 points to close on 1774.33.
Europe: European stocks edged higher on Friday led by mining and oil related stocks as commodity prices continue to move higher. Optimism that the global economy is on the path to recovery led oil prices to move above $66 a barrel which in turn boosted oil related stocks. BG Group, Total, BP and Royal Dutch Shell all posted gains. The German DAX gained 8 points, the CAC 40 gained 14 points and the U.K.’s FTSE added 30 points.
Asia: Asian markets closed higher on Friday with energy related stocks leading the way as oil prices held steady. Traders, however, were not ready to jump into equity markets with both feet as concerns still exist about the strength of the global recovery. Shippers and commodity related shares rose in Japan as Chinese demand continues to grow. Japan’s Nikkei gained 71 points while the Hang Seng gained 286 points.
Financial Sector: In trade on Friday the XLF, the financial sector ETF, gained 0.13 points (1.08%) to trade at 12.14. It moved higher on strong volume; 161m ETF's changed hands, slightly below the ten day average of 171.8m. Equity markets closed higher on Friday, after a strong push during the final hour of trading.
Treasuries: Ten year Treasury note yields dropped 13 basis points to 3.47% and the longer term notes posted their biggest two day gain since December. This week’s auction eased concern that U.S. debt sales will be more than the demand. Ten year yields rose 35 basis points in May adding to April’s 46 basis points.
Crude oil: Oil prices continued to rise on Friday, gaining almost 2%, settling above $66 a barrel after economic data from Japan and India overnight suggested the global economic downturn may be close to a bottom. Oil prices have risen approximately 30% in May, the largest monthly gain since March 1999.
Gold Bullion: Gold prices rose strong on Friday as the dollar dropped against all of the other major currencies. Bullion gained almost $18 an ounce to close just above $979 an ounce. Traders often buy gold as a safe haven when the dollar falls.